Why we need Black History Month

By: Kwynn Townsend-Riley – Senior, Communication

Dear Stacey Dash,

I know you acted in the movie “Clueless” but I never thought you actually were.

On Fox News, Jan. 20, you said, “We have to make up our minds. Either we want to have segregation or integration. And if we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the Image Awards where you’re only awarded if you’re black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard.” Then you added, “Just like there shouldn’t be a Black History Month. You know? We’re Americans. Period. That’s it. “

In fact, when Fox host Steve Doocy asked, “Are you saying there shouldn’t be a Black History Month because there isn’t a White History Month?”

You responded “Exactly. Exactly.”

We have come a long, long way, but we have a long way to go.

Black History Month was not created to segregate, but to integrate. Because African-American History is still being offered as an elective compared to the West and the World or American History mandatory requisites, we need Black History Month. Because in 2016, African-Americans are still being awarded with titles such as “the first African-American,” we need Black History Month. Because even in this integrated education system, there are still segregated social norms–we need Black History Month.

The same can easily be applied to channels such as BET and organizations like the NAACP (which was founded by five white people and four African-Americans) in which there is still a dire need for African-Americans to be recognized for our contributions to society. The NAACP Image Award is presented to a person of color (not just black people) for their outstanding work in the entertainment industry. We have these awards in case actors of color are overlooked in favor of their white co-stars. For example, Michael B. Jordan, an African-American starting in “Creed,” was not nominated for an Oscar, while his white co-star, Sylvester Stallone, was nominated. Moreover, the entire cast of “Straight Outta Compton” was not even invited to the Oscars. The Oscars are still so white in 2016.

Yes, we are Americans. However in the history books, in the media, in society, in general, we are treated as the other. As black people, we do not get enough credit for all that we have done for society, and what we continue to do.

This is why I am so surprised by your comments, Ms. Dash. You have been in films that were endorsed and produced by BET networks, attended the NAACP Image Awards and voted for Obama in the 2008 election.

But I guess it is true what they say once you go Fox….

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